Kelowna is home to many LGBTQIA2S+ friends and thus offers some fun and exciting LGBTQIA2S+ events, accommodations, and activities! Whether you are looking to throw a coming-out party, looking for a fun activity for a Saturday night, or just want to meet some more like-minded people, Kelowna, B.C. is the place to be!
Why LGBTQ+ Events and Activities Matter
Obviously, Kelowna is home to many LGBTQIA2S members, so one can be sure to expect to be welcomed anywhere within the city. However, we wanted to highlight some businesses that either create or host unique events for LGBTQIA2S+ members or places that offer a safe space for members of this community. Given the history of LGBTQIA2s+ people not being accepted by dominant society for so long, it is important for this community to be able to celebrate freely all aspects of their identity, and these events activities advocate for that.
Is Kelowna LGBTQ-friendly?
In a word, yes.
Kelowna is known for being one of the more liberal communities in Canada. People are more open to acceptance of all walks of life here than they might be elsewhere, and there is definitely no issue with using public restrooms or other spaces designated for members of the LGBTQ community. There are many people who feel very strongly about standing up for the rights of others and making sure that everyone feels welcome here.
The community here is actually quite large. The Keremeos/Cawston region even hosts an annual Pride Parade on the last day of the Peach Festival each year.
Social life in Kelowna can be very inclusive, especially on campus at UBCO where there are many different clubs and groups specifically dedicated to LGBTQ issues and awareness. There are happy hours hosted by these groups about once a month at bars around town, making it easy for any student to feel welcome anywhere they go.
The Okanagan is ranked one of the top places in Canada for LGBT people to live, and Kelowna is an excellent example.
Kelowna Pride sponsors and hosts numerous events year-round for our LGBTQIA2S+ family. In addition to full-on events, there are recurring activities and companies designed by and for members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community to take part in.
OUT in the Valley
Every year around November Kelowna offers a fun, kick-ass, and queer wine and spirits festival. This festival includes several tickets to wine tours but also the annual Sugarplum Ball and Drag Brunch.
Peak Pride @ Big White
Annually around April, Big White Ski Resort and fellow ski resorts in the Okanagan host what is known as Peak Pride which is an event meant to highlight and celebrate the LGBTQIA2S+ family in the Okanagan. If you’re in the Valley around the Wintertime make sure you’re around for this awesome event.
Kelowna’s Next Drag Superstar
As a part of pride week here in Kelowna, we crown annually Kelowna’s Next Drag Superstar. In past years, we’ve hosted this event as some of the top wineries in the city, with well-recognized drag queen judges to host. It’s an event that’s a lot of fun to participate in or just merely watch.
Fruitcake at Sapphire
Fruitcake is a monthly bash held at Sapphire nightclub to create a space for members of our LGBTQIA2S+ family to have a blast dancing and partying together. If you’re a fan of hitting up that dance floor, we would highly recommend this event.
There are a couple of yoga options specifically geared towards the GBTQ2S+ community. Inner Light Yoga Nidra helps GBTQ2S+ men create and embrace self-affirmations, aiding in mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. HIM Yoga is another great option for this community as well.
Rebellious Unicorns is an events, broadcasting, and media production company that produces many of the other activities on this list. Unicorn Live is an LGBTQIA2S+ focused Livestream with music, theatre, and comedy content, all delivered live and unfiltered. The best part of this is you can access it all year round and it’s a great way to feel connected to LGBTQIA2S+ content and creators behind it.
In addition to fun and exciting events, there are also countless amounts of support groups and educational circles led by and for LGBTQIA2s+ members. 2 Spirits of BC Talking Circle, Okanagan Gender Identity Groups, and Living While Marginalized are just a few of some great LGBTQ+ support networks to get involved with.
Known for its colourful nature, Hotel Zed is one of Kelowna’s many vocal LGBTQIA2S+ allies! It is a proud sponsor of many Pride Week festivities and is a funky, beautiful hotel right in the heart of downtown. If you’re into fun-loving and want to take some cool pictures during your stay, you simply can’t go wrong with Hotel Zed.
Another proud supporter of Kelowna’s Pride Week, the Delta Grand is a great accommodation option if you’re looking for something luxurious and sophisticated in your hotel. Right on the water in downtown Kelowna, you’ll feel like you’re on a luxury vacation in paradise, even if there happens to be snow outside.
Kanata Kelowna Hotel
Kanata is likewise a strong accommodation manager of Kelowna’s Pride Society. Not only are they proud to be a hotel sponsor of all Kelowna Pride events, but are also part of the CGLCC Businesses of Canada.
Friends of Dorothy
Kelowna’s premier LGBTQIA2S+ lounge and gay bar is definitely a must-see location in Kelowna. It is well recognized for great service and cocktails, as well as entertaining drag and karaoke nights to boot! You can be sure you’ll feel welcomed and comfortable at this super trendy bar in the downtown area.
House of Rose Winery
Oak & Cru
Where do we start – luxury lakefront dining, delicious food, a killer happy hour, and one of the hosts of MX – LGBT2QIA2S+ networking events? Enough said! This awesome restaurant is located behind the previously mentioned Delta Grand hotel right on Lake Okanagan. Make sure to check out this spot on your tour around Kelowna!
Do you agree with our list? If you think we’re missing another important LGBTQIA2S+ activity, event, restaurant, or accommodations in the Kelowna region, let us know! We may just highlight it in another post in the future.